seems to be shaping up as a pretty good year for action figure collectors who grew up in the 80's. Mattel
plans to bring He-Man back to mass retail with its new Masters of the Universe: Origins
line. Super 7
is working to bring ThunderCats
fans highly detailed 7" Ultimates
figures which hopefully will allow collectors finally to finish out the main team in modern form. Various companies such as NECA
are bringing fans highly detailed collector-oriented Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
, and McFarlane Toys
will bring DC Comics
figures to shelves in a big way this year.
Then there is Hasbro
. Arguably the leading toy company in the boys' action figure game, they already bring fans 6" figures for Star Wars, Power Rangers
, and Marvel
as well as pretty cool G1-inspired Transformers
, which this year will include Earthrise
figures. But what about G.I. Joe
? Deemed as one of the staples of boys' action figures in the 80's, G.I. Joe has been missing from retail shelves for several years now. Could that change in 2020, and if so does that mean Hasbro will finally give fans some action figures of their favorite Real American Heroes
in classic uniforms for the 6" scale?
For the first part of the question of whether G.I. Joe will return to retail this year, the answer (while not confirmed) seems most likely yes. Reports indicate a new G.I.Joe movie that focuses on the team's most popular member Snake-Eyes will see a release in October 2020. If a new movie does happen, that virtually guarantees G.I.Joe toys will happen as well. Retailers are always much more inclined to carry toys backed by a major motion picture release. We have also seen reports of Hasbro filling key positions needed to get G.I.Joe toys back to market, such as John Reale's role overseeing the line as Vice President, Global Design and Development at Hasbro. There also have been rumors of a new G.I. Joe Evergreen
line in the works.
For the second part of the question of whether we might see 6" Marvel Legends-style G.I. Joe figures from Hasbro, well that is more complicated. While 6" figures have become a very popular scale for Hasbro in recent years, there is no denying that G.I.Joe since the 80's were always first and foremost a 3 3/4" line. If Hasbro tried to release 6" figures without also releasing 3 3/4", my guess is that you would see a revolt from a large segment of the collector population. Of course Hasbro could try to do both scales, but even with a movie it's not clear how excited retailers will be carrying G.I. Joe again. The previous two movies certainly seemed to do little to boost popularity for the brand. In fact, some might even argue that it had the reverse effect. So will retailers want to carry Joe figures in varying scales, or will they want to stick with what's cheapest and most attractive to kids? It's possible we won't even see highly detailed 3 3/4" scale figures released in any large way as those tend to cost more. For a collector line, the larger retailers might prefer to carry 6" figures over 3 3/4" ones as 6" figures are generally seen as giving people more for the money they spend.
I have no doubt G.I. Joe will see a return to retail soon, at least for a bit when the movie comes out. The big question in my mind is will the line be able to continue beyond a movie and will it be strong enough to allow Hasbro to do more than just the basic kids stuff - like collector oriented 6" and 3 3/4" figures?
If you had to choose one scale for collector oriented G.I. Joe figures to be done in, which scale would you choose?
Shown below are 6" Custom figures done by BoreDad Cuctoms